Fewer potential heart attack victims driving themselves to Blessing

The message seems to be getting through.

Fewer potential heart attack patients are driving to the emergency room - instead, they're calling an ambulance.

Blessing Hospital in Quincy has seen an almost 25 percent jump in 911 calls for heart attacks since 2011.

When you pick up the phone and dial those three numbers, 911, it starts a series of events that could end up saving your life or that of someone you love.

So what exactly is a heart attack?

"A heart attack is when the artery providing blood flow to part of the heart muscle closes and um when that artery closes and there is no more blood flow to that heart muscle that heart muscle dies," Dr. Steve Krause explained.

Blessing Hospital has been tracking those who use 911 versus those who don't.

They say picking up the phone increases your chances of survival.

"By calling 911 and having a paramedic or ambulance respond gives that patient the best possible chance of surviving that cardiac event," Dr. Krause said.

Another way of surviving a cardiac event is knowing the symptoms.

Dr. Krause says it depends if you are a man or a woman.

"Women tend to have atypical symptoms. They might come in and say they might have flu like symptoms," he said.

Whereas men have ... "Chest heaviness, the patient might grab their chest or they can get pain in their jaw or down their arm," he finished.

Dr. Krause also says that not knowing the risks and symptoms increases the chances of a fatality.

"The number one killer of men an women, its not breast cancer, its not motor vehicle accidents, its heart disease," Dr. Krause said.

Dr. Krause also says people are can sometimes be in denial and believe it can't happen to them.